The other week I was grocery shopping and I happened to see two guys grocery shopping together. No biggie. Didn't mean anything but...one of the guys was nervous. He was a little shorter than his friend or boyfriend, and he kept sticking his hands in his pockets and sort of jittering and looking nervous. His friend or boyfriend was really calm and just going through aisles, you know, taking care of business.
I couldn't help thinking they were a gay couple and the shorter guy was freaking out thinking, "Oh shit, now is somebody gonna come up and laugh? Harass us? What? What happens next?" It was a perfectly safe place, but he didn't seem to ever feel safe. Like it took a big freaking effort for him just to go grocery shopping together.
He was shorter, but nothing about him stuck out as out of the ordinary straight American male. If they hadn't been together, nobody would've thought, "A gay man." Maybe nobody except me did now, either.
Nothing bad happened. Nobody that I saw glanced twice at them. But it was hard. It was so hard for him. My heart went out to him. I hoped it would get easier, this kind of thing, when he saw it was okay to go grocery shopping and nothing bad was going to happen. But you don't know.
I couldn't help thinking of the scene in my story "Falling for Archie" when the two guys go grocery shopping together. They're so easy together, even clowning around and having fun. But real life can be different, can't it?
It's not bad to have fantasies, stories where it's easy coming out and things are always happy. But sometimes real life can be a little different. I hope it's easier for him next time. But I have a feeling they didn't shop together again for a while.